By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — ‘Tis the season….to be raking leaves. And in Philadelphia, the Streets Department has brought back curbside, mechanical leaf collection in certain neighborhoods, a program that had fallen victim to the budget axe during the recession.

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The recession prompted the Nutter Administration to end the mechanical leaf collection that had been offered in leafier parts of the city, and that caused a big drop off in the amount of leaves recycled by the city. Prior to the recession, the city averaged around 3,000 tons of leaves each fall. After the budget cuts, that dropped to only about 1,000. Deputy Streets Commissioner Donald Carlton said they want to get back to the old levels.

“So we sat down to try to come up with the best program to recapture as much of that organic material as we can,” he said.

So this year’s leaf collection program brings two major changes: first, mechanical leaf collection returns to those neighborhoods that had it before 2009. Second, in other neighborhoods residents are being asked to bring bagged leaves to one of 26 locations for recycling on certain Saturdays.

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“This is us trying to put a program together to maximize all the organic collection that we can,” Carlton said. “And we want to get back to where we were prior to 2009, and this is step one.”

Residents in neighborhoods where leaves are bagged may still leave those bags at the curb, but the leaves will only go into the regular trash — they won’t be recycled.

If you want a schedule of mechanical leaf collection, a list and schedule of the drop-off locations, and a map of what neighborhoods have either, visit the Philadelphia Streets Department website.

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